Evaluating your Overfill and Package Weight Control System

System design considerations

Key considerations in setting up a net contents control system:

  • Decide where to focus your improvement efforts. You may find it better to direct your efforts to a high volume but inexpensive product, rather than a very low volume but expensive product. Similarly, you may wish to focus on the weight of the most expensive ingredient in the product. Factors to consider include:
    • Cost of raw materials
    • Volume of production
    • Financial impact of priorities
  • What questions do you want to ask of the data?
  • Establish a hierarchy of your process, and decide at which level in the hierarchy you want to establish the GainSeeker Product Standard. Setting the Standard at a higher level makes it easier to look across a wider range of production, but risks mixing processes. Setting it at a lower level makes it easier to keep processes separate, but can create artificial silos of data. For example, a new SKU may be used when the line shifts from putting a red cap on a bottle to a black cap. In that case the new cap doesn’t constitute a new process even though it is probably a wholly new SKU. A typical hierarchy might be:
    • Product family
    • Product type (for each family)
    • Packaging type or size
    • SKU
  • Consider how you might tie into existing information systems and leverage information about material costs and production volumes.
  • Is net contents determined by a piece weight or by a simple weight/volume? Controlling piece weight is much more complicated than controlling a simple weight because the pieces make the overall package weight shift in discrete steps. Examples of piece weight might be cookies in a package, or large pickles in a jar. Simple weights, like the amount of a liquid in a bottle, are typically much easier to measure.
  • Controlling piece weight typically involves tighter control of upstream weights and processes, including weights of all the component parts. Other factors may also come into play, such as moisture or fat content. It may also require resetting the label claim weight based on what is actually possible.
  • Data collection may have to factor the tare weight of the individual package into the process, if the variation of packages is significant.
  • Decide on what alerts you want to receive, and establish a reaction plan for each alert. For example, how will you respond to MAV violations? Do they require supervisor sign-off?

Typical system designs

A typical net content management system includes the following:

  • Set up GainSeeker Standards so that
    • Specification = Label Weight
    • Individual Limit = MAV
    • Target / Nominal of the Specification = Target
  • Consider calculating and storing the percent overfill for each work order (or whatever you use as a foundational unit of measure) as a data record in GainSeeker.
  • Store the data at the smallest reasonable increment. In other words, store percent overfill per work order, or shift, or day. You can always combine smaller subsets of data into larger time periods, but it is much harder to break apart larger sets of data into smaller increments if you don’t have the granularity of data.
  • Integrate to your business system to extract production volume information based on work order (or other unit). Multiply this production volume data by the Percent Overfill to arrive at an amount (measured in weight or volume) of give away.
  • Integrate to your business system to extract material costs. Multiple this cost value by the amount of give away to arrive at a dollar value of the give away.
  • Make sure your business system can support the granularity of data that you want to report on.